This Sun Salutation allows you to become a little adventurous during the back
bend phase and will hopefully open many more doors and choices for you.
Make sure you are properly warmed up before doing this Sun
Salutation because it involves a twists while the body is in a
If you have a low back injury do the Cobra Twist
really low. This allows the spine to have more freedom and less
compression occurs around the discs.
If anything aggravates your spine try a mild modification. If
your spine gives you signals that this is definitely not good then
listen to your body and avoid it or try to modify slightly.
Sometimes the simplest little movement can make all the difference.
Don't do anything that makes your
spine hurt the next day. It is a sign that it is aggravating a
These twists in Cobra can be very good for your spine when done
lightly but when done forcefully the effects are negative. Try
to feel freedom in the joints rather than a deep boundary or as far
as you can possibly go.
These sequences are always shown as a flow but a great approach
is to start slow and feel the poses a little. Explore the pose. Educate the mind about
boundaries and create comfort in the postures then progressively flow faster it will be smooth and
I personally prefer to do the postures fast and then after my
body has warmed up a little I hold them.
Begin in Tadasana with the hands placed together in prayer position.
Place the palms perfectly together. Make as much of the skin on
the palms touch as possible. Apply this technique to the fingers
also. This is an area that can always be improved.
Inhale and stretch the arms over the top of the head.
Tilt lightly forward with the
As you warm up increase the back bend but in the beginning it best to bend the spine lightly.
Exhale down into a forward bend. Enter a mild boundary when bending
Beginners! Bend the knees slightly if you have a lower back injury or if the hamstrings
are not flexible. This will also make breathing easier.
If you prefer to jump back then avoid the step back.
Inhale step the right leg back.
Quite often practitioners keep there head dropped here out of
laziness and lack of oxygen. Raise the chin up so that you can
stretch the chest and neck between poses.
Tip! Breath in when the right leg is stepped halfway back. It easier
to get a really deep breath. In time you can learn to breath lightly at
the beginning of the motion. This a a key Tip and will really help.
Bring the knees down soon if the arms are weak or if the wrists
or shoulders are injured. This exercise may worsen your
problem because of the bodies weight.
safety Tip! Place the knee down with ease and care. The joints in the body are at greater risk of injury when they are twisted and bent during movement. The risk is even greater when a large force like the bodies weight falls upon them.
Exhale down with the chin and chest.This posture moves blood to the neck. Good for the thyroid.
Perhaps you can remain in the posture for a little while.
It also counter balances the
Shoulderstand pose as it stretches
the neck the opposite way. Its easier than some of the other
poses that are usually performed after the
Shoulderstand pose. Both are really good for the Thyroid a
gland located in the neck.
Inhale up to Cobra pose. Enter less than shown
the first few times. If your back is stiff raise halfway to be
safe. Its more beneficial when a proper boundary is found. This
is the point of mild resistance. Then modifications are made to
increase the area that is being stretched.
If you close the legs the lower back tightens. In the first Cobra
the legs are closed. There is more freedom for movement in the lower
back when the legs are open. So if you like keep them open.
Exhale into Locust pose.
(Legs can push together for inner leg strength or be open for
more freedom around the sacrum and lower back)
Beginners! If you cannot raise then at the same time due to
inflexibility try raising one. Just a little is very effective then switch before continuing. This is very healthy for your lower back. Too much is not good.
Inhale up to Upward Facing Cobra pose.
Look up and back so that you stretch the neck
and upper back also.
Come down to give your spine more space.
Then bend the right leg and place the right hand on the toes.
Push the toes forward and down to stretch the quadriceps muscles on the
right leg. There is also an anterior (front) right shoulder stretch.
Take a few breaths to get into this pose. When you deeply stretch
exhale and when you come out of the posture inhale.
The left arm is placed down in the center at a distance away from
your body that feels safe and secure.
Stretch the left leg back and up so that the lower back, gluteus
muscles and hamstrings are all strengthened.
Inhale when lowering and carefully reverse the opposite way
exhaling as you enter.
You can see the right leg is raised.
This pose can be called ardha bhekasana meaning Half Frog.
Exhale down and then inhale into Upward Facing Cobra
to balance your spine.
Try to go through the sequence gently if you are not flexible.
Enter everything with slight resistance for this is safer and
healthier. Better results come form lightly stretching and less
chance of injury.
Be careful about moving your students into spinal twists when doing a backbend like Cobra. Sometimes its best to keep this kind of
postures for your home practice as its hard to know who is injured when there are lots of people in your class.
Even for the very trained eye. Perhaps if you know your class well
but take your time about entering the first time you perform it.
The Cobra twist has elements of Locust Pose and Frog Pose.
The name of this pose could have a combination of these
names and include the word twist or revolved (Parivrtta)
in Sanskrit. Shorten it because its probably too long
and describe the posture names in a non-definitive
manner. i.e this pose could be described as
meaning Revolved Cobra Half Frog pose or just Revolved
Half Frog. There are many ways to describe poses. Only
say for certain this is the name of the pose if it is
really old and well known as that name.
Other Postures that can be sequenced into this Vinyasa:
The above pose can be sequenced instead of the Cobra
Twist that was shown. If you don't link the
Yoga Breathing Techniques
Yoga breathing for anxiety and stress free downloadable mp3s.
Ujjayi Pranayama for for 5 minutes. You can choose
Inhale and restrict the air flow to make the sound "ssss". Keep the
sound constant and smooth.
Exhale make a sound with the mouth closed that sounds like "hhhhha".